Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) chatted with Chuck Todd on Meet The Press Sunday and struck a decidedly different tone from her colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who spoke fiercely about how “radical” progressive Democrats are what’s keeping the shutdown in place.
“We’re having to negotiate with people who want to abolish ICE, not support ICE,” Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. “We’re having to negotiate with people who see border patrol agents gassing children, rather than defending our borders as professional law enforcement officers.”
He continued: “And we’re negotiating with people who will accuse all of us who support a wall as part of border security as racists. As long as the radical left is in charge, we’re not going to get anywhere. … The goal is to fix a broken immigration system, to bring reality to this table.”
Collins, in a show of diplomacy, stressed to Todd that she sees both sides, saying McConnell is, indeed, hampered by the fact that even if the Houses passes funding bills, the president would likely not sign them.
Collins said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that she understands Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is in a difficult spot because the president may not sign bills passed by the Democratic-held House, but pressed for a vote to reopen agencies like Agriculture, Interior, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.
“It is not a sign of weakness to figure out a middle ground. I think that both sides need to indicate a willingness to listen and to compromise.”
WATCH: Chuck Todd asks Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) if it’s time for the White House to move forward on stalled shutdown negotiations. #MTP@SenatorCollins: “It is not a sign of weakness to try to figure out a middle ground” pic.twitter.com/aaNSLaMR58
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 6, 2019
The question, as it always is during shut down negotiations, is who gets the blame for not compromising. Graham has a valid point — Democrats have tacked far to the progressive left and, despite their insistence their position is simply about preventing a wall, would appear to actually want to dismantle existing security measures. Given what we know — and what Collins mentions to Todd — about what’s coming through the southern border, that would be a terrible move. Here’s Collins to Todd:
We do need to strengthen our border security. We know that 90 percent of the heroin is coming across the southern border along with human traffickers and a lot of unaccompanied children. That’s not good either. But we need to look at more than just the physical barrier. We need to look at more border patrol agents, technology, and other means as well.
In truth, it would appear the Trump administration is the side moving, if slightly, toward negotiation by offering a change in construction of the wall from concrete to steel slats (steel is its own political football at the moment, so keep your eyes on that).
So they’ve made an offer. It’s hard to say what the Democrats want if it’s not what Graham suggests, which is tantamount to open borders.
But it’s safe to say that for all the posturing about government workers not getting paid — which Collins, to her credit, expresses concern over — Democrats don’t seem to be as concerned because, so far, they’ve made no public mention of a counter offer.